Anyway back to the matter at hand. For this particular month, our Cake Slice Bakers group had selected a Pistachio Petit Four Cake. Marzipan, jam preserves and a dark chocolate glaze turn a pistachio butter cake into an irresistible dessert reminiscent of European petit fours glaces. I baked the layers on Friday after a late dinner and did the assembling on Saturday afternoon. The cake is decorated with chopped roasted pistachios and gumpaste roses which had been made much earlier on. This cake is absolutely delicious as I had used a bitter chocolate to make the ganache. I'm definitely going to keep this recipe for a much larger version the next time round.
Pistachio Petit Four Cake
Makes an 8" triple layer cake - serves 12 to 16
Recipe from Sky High Irresistible Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
3/4 cup skinned pistachio nuts
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
226g (8 ounces)unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup apricot preserves
Dark chocolate glaze (below)
1) Preheat the oven to 180C (350F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2) Spread out the pistachios in a baking tray and toast in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly coloured. Transfer to a dish and let cool completely. Finely chop the pistachios and set 1/4 cup aside for decoration.
3) Put the remaining 1/2 cup pistachios in a food processor. Add the sugar and pulse just enough to grind them finely. Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the flour, baking powder and salt. Blend with the mixer on low for 30 seconds.
4) Add the butter, milk and vanilla and wit the mixer on low, beat until completely incorporated. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beaten eggs in 2 or 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only long enough to blend after each addition. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
5) Bake for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners and let cool completely.
8 ounces almond paste
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Crumble the almond paste into a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer on low speed to soften the almond paste. Add the confectioners sugar and corn syrup and beat until smooth. Wrap well in plastic so it doesn’t fry out and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before rolling.
Dark Ganache Glaze
1 pound extra bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Chop the chocolate coarsely and out it in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a bare simmer. Pour immediately over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth and use the glaze soon after making before it starts to set. Allow to cool and thicken slightly before use.
1) Roll out a third of the marzipan on a work surface dusted with a little confectioners sugar to about 1/8th inch thick. Set one of the cake pans upside down on the marzipan and trim around it with a small knife to make an 8 inch round. Repeat twice more with the remaining marzipan. Save your scraps to make roses for decoration if desired.
2) Place one cake layer on a cake board, flat side up. Spread 1/4 cup of the apricot preserves evenly over the top, leaving a 1/4 inch margin all round to allow for spreading. Place one marzipan round on top of the preserves and spread 1/3 cup ganache glaze over the top of the marzipan so that it is completely covered. Repeat with the second cake layer, adding more preserves, marzipan and glaze.
3) Add the final cake layer and top with preserves and marzipan as before. Place the whole cake on a wire rack set over a baking pan. Pour the remaining dark ganache glaze over the cake, spreading it as evenly as possible over the top and sides of the cake. Allow the ganache to set before transferring to a plate. It should be smooth and glossy.
Garnish the top with the reserves chopped pistachios.
Optional: Make some marzipan roses with any leftover marzipan scraps if desired.